Some authors, inspired by the theoretical requirements for the formulation of a quantum theory of gravity, proposed a relational reconstruction of the quantum parameter-time—the time of the unitary evolution, which would make quantum mechanics compatible with relativity. The aim of the present work is to follow the lead of those relational programs by proposing a relational reconstruction of the event-time—which orders the detection of the definite values of the system’s observables. Such a reconstruction will be based on the modal- Hamiltonian interpretation of quantum mechanics, which provides a clear criterion to select which observables acquire a definite value and to specify in what situation they do so.
The Kepler problem is the study of a particle moving in an attractive inverse square force. In classical mechanics, this problem shows up when you study the motion of a planet around the Sun in the Solar System. …
In my previous post, I argued against divine desire versions of divine command theory. Reflecting on that post, I saw that there is a simple variant of divine desire that helps with some of the problems in that post. …
The rationale of our study is to question whether the observation of the physical world from the standpoint of the mystic experience could furnish some ontological indications of the structure of the world itself. Taking perspectives from the states of consciousness described by mystics may furnish us with a deeper understanding of the material and metaphysical character of physical categories such as matter, energy, force, space, time and space-time. We chose as a particularly interesting case study the spiritual cosmology of the 20th-century Indian mystic and yogi, Sri Aurobindo. This is an introductory overview of his metaphysics relevant for physical sciences with particular attention paid to quantum physics.
Suppose we set out to describe the passing scene. Singling out an unremarkable portion we observe: Mary kneels; Mary sits; Mary stands; Mary jumps. We have described the passing scene. More exactly, we have described a scene that passes. But we have not captured the passing of the scene. I propose that the only additional item required to capture the passing of the scene is this: Mary kneels; and then Mary sits; and then Mary stands. Succession is what makes our scene and time pass. Schematically, I propose that time passes iff: P, and then Q for any tensed P and Q. When Mary kneels and then sits, that constitutes a passing scene because Mary kneels—present tense—and then she sits—again, present tense. Just to have a label, I will call this the dynamic succession account of passage. The account of temporal passage enables a straightforward and appealing explanation of the connection between temporal passage, persistence, and change, which I elaborate here. With its emphasis on both tense and succession, the view combines while rejecting elements of A-theoretic (tense focused) and B-theoretic (succession focused) theories of time. I explain how this theory of temporal passage plausibly combines and rejects elements of each theory.
1. The assumption that innovation can be regulated towards societally desirable outcomes cannot be maintained. (this thesis) 2. The inclusion of society in innovation requires active involvement of individual citizens beyond representative stakeholders.
Human behavior and thought often exhibit a familiar pattern of within group similarity and between group difference. Many of these patterns are attributed to cultural differences. For much of the history of its investigation into behavior and thought, however, cognitive science has been disproportionately focused on uncovering and explaining the more universal features of human minds—or the universal features of minds in general.
Immanuel Kant (1724–1804) argued that the supreme principle of
morality is a principle of practical rationality that he dubbed the
“Categorical Imperative” (CI). Kant characterized the CI
as an objective, rationally necessary and unconditional principle that
we must follow despite any natural desires we may have to the
contrary. All specific moral requirements, according to Kant, are
justified by this principle, which means that all immoral actions are
irrational because they violate the CI. Other philosophers, such as
Hobbes, Locke and Aquinas, had also argued that moral requirements are
based on standards of rationality.
This paper explores the socio-epistemic practice of shopping for experts. I argue that expert shopping is particularly likely to occur on what Thi Nguyen calls cognitive islands (i.e., a domain that is both subtle and isolated). To support my claim, I focus on the case of macroeconomics. First, I make a prima-facie case for thinking that macroeconomics is a cognitive island. I, then, argue that ordinary people are particularly likely to engage in expert shopping when it comes to macroeconomic matters. I go on to distinguish two kinds of expert shopping, which I call cynical and wishful expert shopping, and introduce the notion of assisted expert shopping, which occurs when people or organizations shop for experts on behalf of other people. I argue that assisted expert shopping can consist of a particularly worrisome combination of cynical and wishful expert shopping, which sometimes result in what I call a propagandistic use of expertise. Finally, I critically examine some possible reasons for optimism and find them wanting. I conclude by suggesting that that much of what I said about shopping for macroeconomic experts might also apply mutatis mutandis to other policy-relevant domains of expertise.
The complex societal challenges of the 21st Century require scientific researchers and academically educated professionals capable of conducting scientific research in complex problem contexts. Our central claim is that educational approaches inspired by a traditional empiricist epistemology insufficiently foster the required deep conceptual understanding and higher-order thinking skills necessary for epistemic tasks in scientific research. Conversely, we argue that constructivist epistemologies (developed in the philosophy of science in practice) provide better guidance to educational approaches to promote research skills. We also argue that teachers adopting a constructivist learning theory do not necessarily embrace a constructivist epistemology. On the contrary, in educational practice, novel educational approaches that adopt constructivist learning theories (e.g., project-based learning, PjBL) often maintain traditional empiricist epistemologies. Philosophers of science can help develop educational designs focused on learning to conduct scientific research, combining constructivist learning theory with constructivist epistemology. We illustrate this by an example from a bachelor's program in Biomedical Engineering, where we introduce conceptual models and modeling as an alternative to the traditional focus on hypothesis testing in conducting scientific research. This educational approach includes the so-called B&K method for (re-)constructing scientific models to scaffold teaching and learning conceptual modeling.
First proposed by John Duns Scotus (1266–1308), a haecceity is a
non-qualitative property responsible for a substance’s individuation
and identity. As understood by Scotus, a haecceity is not a bare
particular underlying qualities. It is, rather, a
non-qualitative property of a substance or thing: it is a
“thisness” (a haecceitas, from the Latin
haec, meaning “this”) as opposed to a
“whatness” (a quidditas, from the Latin
quid, meaning “what”) – akin to what are
sometimes known in recent philosophy as “suchnesses.” The
origins of the proposal have both philosophical and theological
Along with hallucinations and illusions, afterimages have shaped the philosophical debate about the nature of perception. Often referred to as optical or visual illusions, experiences of afterimages have been abundantly exploited by philosophers to argue against naïve realism. This paper offers an alternative account to this traditional view by providing a tentative account of the colors of the afterimages from an objectivist perspective. Contrary to the widespread approach to afterimages, this paper explores the possibility that the colors of afterimages are not ontologically different from “ordinary” colors and that experiences of afterimages fail to provide a motivation for rejecting naïve realism.
This paper engages in what might be called anticipatory virtue epistemology, as it anticipates some virtue epistemological risks related to a near-future version of brain-computer interface technology called neuromedia (Lynch 2014, 2016, Carter 2017, Pritchard 2018b). I analyze how neuromedia is poised to negatively affect the intellectual character of agents, focusing specifically on the virtue of intellectual perseverance, which involves a disposition to mentally persist in the face of challenges towards the realization of one’s intellectual goals (King 2014, Battaly 2017). First, I present and motivate what I call ‘the cognitive offloading argument’, which holds that excessive cognitive offloading of the sort incentivized by a device like neuromedia threatens to undermine intellectual virtue development from the standpoint of the theory of virtue responsibilism. Then, I examine the cognitive offloading argument as it applies to the virtue of intellectual perseverance, arguing that neuromedia may increase cognitive efficiency at the cost of intellectual perseverance. If used in an epistemically responsible manner, however, cognitive offloading devices may not undermine intellectual perseverance but instead allow us to persevere with respect to intellectual goals that we find more valuable by freeing us from different kinds of menial intellectual labor.
Robert Alyngton was one of the most important authors of the
generation after John Wyclif. He was deeply influenced by Walter
Burley’s logico-ontological system and Wyclif’s
metaphysics. His major extant work, a commentary on the
Categories, heavily depends on Burley’s last commentary
on the Categories and Wyclif’s De ente
praedicamentali. Yet he was able to develop new logical and
semantic theories as well as the general strategy adopted by the
Oxford Realists, as he methodically substituted reference to external
objective realities for reference to linguistic and/or mental
This paper is inspired by and develops on E. J. Lowe’s work, who writes in his book The Possibility of Metaphysics that ‘metaphysical possibility is an inescapable determinant of actuality’ (1998: 9). Metaphysics deals with possibilities – metaphysical possibilities – but is not able to determine what is actual without the help of empirical research. Accordingly, a delimitation of the space of possibilities is required. The resulting – controversial – picture is that we generally need to know whether something is possible before we can know whether it is actual. In order to appreciate this picture, we need to understand Lowe’s slogan: ‘essence precedes existence’ (Lowe 2008: 40). This slogan has both an ontological and an epistemic reading. The ontological reading is related to the now familiar idea that essence grounds modality, as popularised by Kit Fine. The epistemic reading suggests that we can know the essence of some entity before we know whether or not that entity exists. However, this idea is often met with puzzlement and Lowe himself sadly passed away before he had a chance to clarify this framework. I will present the framework as I understand it, develop it on my own terms, and put forward a qualified defence of it. I will also illustrate how the framework can be put to use with a case study concerning the discovery of transuranic elements.
. John Park, MD
Kansas City VA Medical Center
Poisoned Priors: Will You Drink from This Well? As an oncologist, specializing in the field of radiation oncology, “The Statistics Wars and Intellectual Conflicts of Interest”, as Prof. Mayo’s recent editorial is titled, is one of practical importance to me and my patients (Mayo, 2021). …
Where Hegel spoke of the state in the broad sense, I speak vaguely of “our political world,” of how people organize themselves politically in our time. While states continue to be central to this, their character has changed, especially through ongoing globalization. In Hegel’s time, a state was essentially a unique individual: the Prussian state, or the French; and the character of each of these — in his time rather few — states was essentially determined from within, primarily by the particular ethics or ethical life (Sittlichkeit) of the people constituting it. Each of these leading peoples had its own national institutional structure, its own way of organizing itself and of presenting itself to the outside world. In contrast, the family was and is primarily a generic form of organization that persons, under the pressure of normative expectations and within certain margins of tolerance, reproduce again and again. This is what the state has become since Hegel: a globalized schema, externally imposed on all world regions and populations. Our political world has evolved into a system of states. And with this claim I am contradicting those who, with questionable appeal to Hegel, have postulated an end of history — without, however, wanting to investigate their thesis here in more detail.
I raise questions about Chakravartty’s voluntarism about stances: supposing that we recognize a hierarchy of stances, voluntarism might be at once true (in an ultimate sense) but misleading when it comes to the practical tenability of pursuing certain debates in the philosophy of science, such as the debate about scientific realism or how to ‘naturalize’ metaphysics.
I introduce the symposium on Anjan Chakravartty’s Scientific Ontology by summarizing the book’s main claims. In my commentary, I first challenge Chakravartty’s claim that naturalized metaphysics cannot be indexed to science simpliciter. Second, I argue that there are objective truths regarding what conduces to particular epistemic aims, and that Chakravartty is therefore too permissive regarding epistemic stances and their resultant ontologies. Third, I argue that it is unclear what stops epistemic stances from having unlimited influence. Finally, I argue that Chakravartty’s epistemic stance voluntarism is inadequately motivated and lacks empirical support for its psychological content.
Much of the species problem lies in trying to find necessary and sufficient theoretical criteria for both their explanation and delimitation. I argue in this chapter that species are instead “operative concepts”, built up by the collective experience and context of subdisciplines of systematics as the field develops, relying on assays and criteria that make a putative taxon a “good species”. I reiterate my view that species are phenomena that stand in need of explanation, and that the category itself is so polysemic, because of the haphazard way the concept develops in the various specialties’ history, that it is merely an epistemic notion.
The modern abundance and prominence of data has led to the development of “data science” as a new field of enquiry, along with a body of epistemological reflections upon its foundations, methods, and consequences. This article provides a systematic analysis and critical review of significant open problems and debates in the epistemology of data science. We propose a partition of the epistemology of data science into the following five domains: (i) the constitution of data science; (ii) the kind of enquiry that it identifies; (iii) the kinds of knowledge that data science generates; (iv) the nature and epistemological significance of “black box” problems; and (v) the relationship between data science and the philosophy of science more generally.
Marcus Tullius Cicero (106–43 BCE) is best known to posterity as
a prominent statesman and orator in the tumultuous period of the late
Roman republic. As well as being a leading political actor of his
time, he also wrote voluminously. Among his writings, around a dozen
philosophical works have come down to us. Philosophy was a lifelong
passion for Cicero. In addition to what one might call his strictly
philosophical compositions, much else of what he wrote –
including his speeches, works on rhetoric, and a large collection of
letters – show evidence of his philosophical interests. In terms
of modern scholarship, the value of Cicero’s philosophical work
was held, until relatively recently, to lie chiefly in the information
it provided about the thought of the leading philosophical schools of
his day: Stoicism, Epicureanism and Academic scepticism among them.
Korean philosophy presents basic and sweeping insights about the nature of human beings and their ways of communal life in society as well as the constitution of reality. Over the past two thousand years or so it has been gradually developing on the Korean peninsula and its adjacent areas sandwiched by the Chinese landmass mainly to the north and the Japanese archipelago mainly to the south. For Korean philosophers, philosophy and its actual practice in communal life typically go hand in hand. In his “Theses on Feuerbach” (1845), Karl Marx famously complained that philosophers have only interpreted the world without altering it.
Issues in social and political thought have been central to Chinese
philosophy from its earliest moments down to the present day. Neither
“social” nor “political” have ready correlates
in Chinese prior to the nineteenth century, but Chinese thinkers
consistently have been concerned with understanding how both
individuals and institutions have broad effects in what we can call
both social and political modes. In some cases, the philosophers
narrowly focus on governance and the state, but in many other cases,
no firm distinction is made between the realms of political, social,
and even family or individual.
States have long demanded reparations from other states at the end
of wars. More recently non-state actors such as the Aborigines of
Australia, the Maori of New Zealand, and many American Indian nations
of North America are demanding the return of their tribal lands from
Europeans as reparations; Eastern Europeans dispossessed by socialist
governments are demanding the return of their property as reparations;
and U.S. blacks (black people whose genealogy traces back to slavery
U.S.[ 1 ])
are demanding reparations from the United States of America for the
harmful wrongdoings to them caused by U.S. slavery and its
Can knowledge be defined? That is, can knowledge be characterised completely by appeal to universals other than, and understandable independently of, itself? On pain of an infinite descent of definitions, it cannot be that every universal can be so characterised. Some universals must be in that sense indefinable. Is knowledge amongst them? Unlike the case of justified true belief, which seems to wear its definability on its sleeve, there is no obvious reason, available at the outset of inquiry, to expect that knowledge can be defined. As in other such cases, the initial burden of proof resides with those seeking to defend the claim that it can be. That is not yet to claim that the burden cannot be borne, or even that, at this late stage in ongoing inquiry, no reasons have been offered for accepting that the burden now resides with those in the other camp.
Work is a subject with a long philosophical pedigree. Some of the most
influential philosophical systems devote considerable attention to
questions concerning who should work, how they should work, and why. For example, in the ideally just city outlined in the
Republic, Plato proposed a system of labor specialization,
according to which individuals are assigned to one of three economic
strata, based on their inborn abilities: the laboring or mercantile
class, a class of auxiliaries charged with keeping the peace and
defending the city, or the ruling class of
‘philosopher-kings’. Such a division of labor, Plato
argued, will ensure that the tasks essential to the city’s
flourishing will be performed by those most capable of performing
A widespread (and often tacit) assumption is that fear is an anticipatory emotion and, as such, inherently future-oriented. Prima facie, such an assumption is threatened by cases where we seem to be afraid of things in the past: if it is possible to fear the past, then fear entertains no special relation with the future—or so some have argued. This seems to force us to choose between an account of fear as an anticipatory emotion (supported by pre-theoretical intuitions as well as empirical research in psychology) and admitting cases of past-oriented fear. In this paper, we argue for a proposal that dissolves this dilemma. Our claim is: with the right account in place, the future-orientation of fear can be made compatible with, and is actually explanatory of, cases where we are genuinely afraid of something in the past. So, there is no need to choose: fear is still future-oriented, even when we are genuinely afraid of things in the past. The key is a correct understanding of what fear’s temporal orientation amounts to, and the framework we offer here provides us with such an understanding.
Relational mechanics is a reformulation of mechanics (classical or quantum) for which space is relational. This means that the configuration of an N - particle system is a shape, which is what remains when the effects of rotations, translations and dilations are quotiented out. This reformulation of mechanics naturally leads to a relational notion of time as well, in which a history of the universe is just a curve in shape space without any reference to a special parametrization of the curve given by an absolute Newtonian time. When relational mechanics (classical or quantum) is regarded as fundamental, the usual descriptions in terms of absolute space and absolute time emerge merely as corresponding to the choice of a gauge. This gauge freedom forces us to recognize that what we have traditionally regarded as fundamental in physics might in fact be imposed by us through our choice of gauge. It thus imparts a somewhat Kantian aspect to physical theory.
A true-emotion view of blameworthiness holds that one is blameworthy for an offense just in case one is a fitting target of a blaming emotion in response to that offense, and a blaming emotion is fitting just in case it truly represents things. Proportionality requires that fitting blame be of the right size, neither an overreaction nor an underreaction to the offense. Here it is argued that this requirement makes trouble for a true-emotion view. Instances of blaming emotions can differ in size, and can thus differ with respect to whether they are proportional, without differing in the representations that true-emotion theorists attribute to them. The option of attributing further representations to blaming emotions, with the aim of avoiding this objection, is considered and shown to raise new difficulties for the view.